There are some new security measures are coming to Bradley International Airport.
The drivers who take passengers to parking lots or to area hotel will soon be subject to screenings that are more strict. The board of directors from the Connecticut Airport Authority, which operates Bradley Airport, said the policy change is about passenger safety.
Beginning in January 2018, more of the drivers who give rides from the terminal will be needing more of a security clearance. The tougher security measures will be specifically for any driver using the already-restricted roadway just outside the Arrivals area on the lower level of the terminal.
"It's going to impact anyone that has access to that roadway," Kevin Dillon, the executive director of the Connecticut Airport Authority (CAA), said.
Dillon said the new security policy will require background checks, and even a check of the federal 'No Fly' list, for every driver who is cleared to use that curbside passenger pick-up area. Until the CAA board approved the policy on November 27, that was not the case.
"We noted that there was a deficiency on the background checks that we do on those folks that have access to what we call the inner restricted roadway here at the airport," Dillon said.
The particular stretch of roadway is not open to the public. It is typically used by taxis, shuttles and rental car buses. Many, but not all, of the hired drivers who use the road are already subject to background checks.
But with the policy change, even shuttle drivers for hotels or off-site private parking lots will get that same scrutiny. Those who have been convicted of any of dozens of criminal offenses within the last decade may be disqualified from operating for any ground transportation business at Bradley.
"I think it's probably a good idea," Anja Duffy, a Bradley Airport passenger who lives in Holyoke, Massachusetts, said. "There have been a lot of vehicular attacks so I think that extra layer makes sense."
The new CAA policy does not hold Uber and Lyft drivers to the same requirements because ride-sharing service drivers are not using that specific restricted roadway.
Michael Lindsey, president and CEO of Lindsey Limousine based in Windsor, believes all drivers who transport passengers to and from Bradley should have to meet the same requirements.
"Just 30 feet away, lies what is referred to as the 'outer roadway curb' which is open to the public and most recently Uber and Lyft," wrote Lindsey. "These companies are doing essentially the same thing as the contracted companies - like us, yet will be exempt from this new policy."
Paying for and performing the added background checks will be the responsibility of the companies, not the CAA.
Dillon said there could be consequences for those employees and companies that do not comply.
"Their right to operate here at the airport would be restricted until we can make the determination that they're actually compliant," Dillon said.
For thirty days, public comment on the new policy is being accepted. If no changes are made, it will go into effect on January 5, 2018.
"We know that it will be a burden or them to put all those employees through the background checks, so we want to be reasonable how we implement it," said Dillon.
Read the Ground Transportation Driver Requirements and Background Checks Policy here: